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Mothers and their children: These are the victims of the Texas church shooting.

Sunday, November 5, and Annabelle Renee Pomeroy was dressing for church. It’s likely she would have worn her best dress. Her father, a pastor, might have insisted.

With both parents out of town, the 14-year-old prepared to attend the morning service at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs in Texas without them.

Perhaps she thought of her mother as she put on the dress, the way Sherri Pomeroy would have smoothed the material over her daughter’s hips and held her at arms length to inspect how it fit.

Annabelle might have thought of her father as the service began, as her shoes pressed into the cold floor and she stood to sing the first hymn. Frank Pomeroy is a First Baptist Church Pastor, also.

For Crystal Holcolbe, dressing at all would have been difficult. At eight months pregnant, the mother of five – almost six – would have been wearing the most comfortable ‘Sunday best’ she could find.

As she sat on the hard pew alongside her five children, she might have been thinking about the life inside her womb, soon to enter the world. It’s reported Crystal raised goats and made cheese with their milk. Maybe she was thinking about dinner, or the week ahead, or her husband John whose parents, Karla and Bryan Holcombe, were sitting just there beside them.

Crystal, alongside three of her children, as well as Karla and Bryan and 14-year-old Annabelle were killed in that church when a lone gunman opened fire with an assault rifle at 11:30 on Sunday morning.

Twenty-six people died, and at least 20 others were injured.

church shooting family
Crystal Holcolbe and her family. Image via Facebook.
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The President of the United States Donald Trump has called it a "mental health" issue. When, really, it's the deadliest mass shooting at a place of worship in American history, and the deadliest mass shooting in the state of Texas on record.

"Mental health is your problem here," Trump told reporters in Japan where he is currently touring, News Corp reports. "This isn't a guns situation."

And, in the stunned hours since, we've learned how the gunman once served in the US air force. That he was discharged after being court-martialled in 2012 for two counts of assault on his then-wife and their child, as CBS News reports. And that his record of threatening behaviour extended to the morning of the shooting when he'd sent violent texts to his mother-in-law.

Listen: The Chaser's Chas Liciardello deep dives on everything that's happened this week in US politics. Post continues after audio. 

The anger and the heartbreak and the shock keeps us turning to the gunman. What made him do it? we wonder. What could have stopped him? we ask ourselves.

But in our search for answers, lets not forget the victims.

The people - aged between five and 72 years old - who were killed as they prayed leaving a glaring hole in the 600-person population of Sutherland Springs.

"Every single one" of Pastor Frank Pomeroy's family and close friends are now dead, he told ABC News Go. "She was one beautiful, special child," he said when speaking about his daughter, Annabelle.

Annabelle Renee Pomeroy. Image via Facebook.
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Chris Ward wasn't there when it happened.

He'd been working night shifts and was sleeping when his wife, Joann Ward, and their four children left for church that Sunday morning.

He was woken when his brother, Michael, raced inside to tell him to come quickly. "I'm not lying to you Chris, they're all shot," Michael told him, as recounted to the Dallas Morning News.

The brothers ran hard. Barging into the church and finding Joann, and two of Chris' daughters Brooke, 5, and Emily, 7, shot dead.

Chris' son Ryland, 5, was still breathing and taken to hospital with bullets lodged in his stomach, groin and arm.

"They got him all cut open, from the gunshots," Michael said, talking about his nephew. "I don't think he's going to make it."

Miraculously, Chris and Joann's eldest daughter was unharmed, though a bullet broke her glasses.

Joann Ward and her family. Image via Facebook.

In all, twenty-three people were found dead in the church, two were found outside and one died in hospital.

Twenty-six people, so many of them children and mothers, who were dressed in their best clothes, surrounded by family and close friends, who had faith in the good of people, and who trusted their God to keep them safe.

All of their lives taken, by one man and his gun.

In the debate that's bound to follow, lets not forget the victims.

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